Brahms, A Drug of Another Kind.

I’ve been on a Brahms kick for almost two weeks now. Predominantly because I’ve been working on the clarinet sonatas.

Yes, you read that correct, sonatas, as in plural. I’m preparing both of them for a competition coming up.

I’ve been struggling a bit with the Brahms, at least in a musical sense. Technically, it’s not that difficult, however trying to understand the depth and emotional intensity of his works…has been quite cumbersome.

I don’t like the word cumbersome in this particular passage, just happens to be the only word I can really think of.

I’m what you would call an emotional savant. I prefer to call myself an emotional savant because for some reason, emotional wreck has less of an ethereal feeling to it…makes me sound less like a pansy.

So, yes, I wear my heart on my sleeve and my energy is very emotionally charged. This lends itself exceptionally well to making music…and an ability I’m rather proud of. A lot of people have technique, few have the musical capacity and prowess to be able to actually execute the intrinsic meaning of a work.

For me, however, Brahms is causing problems.

I’ve been listening to the Violin Concerto and the Double Concerto a lot…and it just baffles my mind at the sheer intensity one needs to express the emotional depth of this music. I feel like I need a far more battered soul than I have already to even come close to grasping the complexity of Brahms works.

For those of you who have never read Jan Swaffords biography on Brahms…I’d strongly suggest it. It’s an absolute WONDERFUL read and a very personal (and private) look into the life of Brahms.

I compare my experiences in life, both traumatic and not, to those of Brahms. We were very similar people. Musically, Brahms was a genius, something I am not. Emotionally, however, I think we are very similar people.

Is that a bit of stretch? Probably…but whatever.

I’ll figure it out. Back to listening and writing.


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